Beyond the Edward Snowden Question

by Robert Heldreth

The man who leaked the NSA’s surveillance program, Edward Snowden, has received a lot of positive attention lately, especially from blogs and social media. Many think his act was heroic, and that the people of the United States deserved to know about this program. But it is a more controversial issue than it may appear to you. Many believe that Snowden is a traitor whose publication of secret documents aided our enemies and hurt our country. Still more do not trust his motivations for leaking the information, or fleeing to Hong Kong and then to Russia.

Yet no matter how we feel about Edward Snowden, all of us have to face the fact that our government has been actively spying on us without probable cause. Remaining silent about this blatant violation of the Bill of Rights is no longer an option, regardless of your opinion of the man himself, or the other issues that have divided us.

We must now shift the bulk of our attention away from Edward Snowden. The most pressing and urgent question is this: How will we respond now that we know that the government is violating the constitution on this scale? And what actions must we take to ensure that our leaders not only hear our voices, but listen?

Many organizations are taking a stand right now. Mozilla started the website stopwatching.us, the ACLU is preparing a fight in the courts, and grassroots movements are popping up across the country to speak out. But there are many more actions that must be taken, and the person who can most make a difference is you.

The first action is to force our representatives to take notice of us. Call or email your congressperson and senators daily from now until the fourth of July, holding them accountable for their complacency regarding the NSA and PRISM, and demanding action to protect us from all unconstitutional surveillance methods. Visit restorethefourth.net and sign up for your local protest. Even if you can’t make it, you can use the website to print out flyers or join the conversation on social media sites. The more we blog, tweet, post, and comment about this issue, the more citizens that take notice, and the louder our voices get. Your skills can help out as well. From computer programmers to musicians, all are welcome and needed in local movements and by the national organizers.

July 4th 2013 will be a fun filled celebration of our independence and the birth of our great country. It will also be a day that we can all join together as citizens, and demand that our government uphold our constitution.

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